I posted earlier in the year on Dell's attempts to advertise itself out of the doldrums. At the time, it sounded worryingly that they wanted to be more Apple-like, which reeked of brand jealousy more than business sense, given the small share Apple have of PCs (c.3%).Well, the ad campaign is now out. And we can now see Dell's Apple-envy in all its multi-colour glory.
Job-one: re-envision the advertising message (!)
A report in Business Week seems to confirm that new Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Jarvis, is steering well clear of the burning but more boring business issues , such as the future competitiveness of the Dell's direct selling model, on which the business was built. No, the report says that
"Job one for Jarvis is to re-envision an advertising message that traditionally has stressed either a PC's price or its main features, including computing speeds and memory capacity.
Hence the flurry of ads that goes live July 12, drawing heavily on colour, music, and images suggesting fun and whimsy. "
Let me just make a note of that for future Hugo speeches. "Job one is to re-envision the advertising message". No, really, I couldn't write this stuff, its so daft. And "a flurry of colour and music suggesting fun and whimsy." Well a flurry of whimsy is really going to scare the living daylights out of HP and Acer, the brands really stealing Dell's share.
I'm creative too. Honest. No, really, I am
Now. To give Dell credit, they have created a new product on which to base the new campaign, rather than a sizzle-only brand anthem-based piece of "sponsored entertainment". The new product is the Inspiron, a laptop plugged its range of different colours. According to PC Advisor, its "pitched at consumers who want a computer as a media centre, workstation and fashion accessory." They even launched the Inspiron notebooks with a 'fashion show' in Marbella, Spain. Mmmm. Dell and a colourful fashion accessory?
Doesn't it feel a bit like Dell is suffering from Apple-envy? Launching a range of nice colour options can't offset years of being a dull but functional purchase. And isn't it trying too hard to be something you aren't? I mean, check out this Dell movie... I like the music, and its a visual feast. But it does have the horrible feeling of "your dad disco dancing" to it. And in now way would make me think about buying one instead of a Mac:
What it does make me think of the PC versus Mac ad where PC is trying awfully hard to be an "arty-farty" creative.